What is an MP4 File Format? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

If you have ever worked with video, you have likely come across the MP4 format. Its features and functions have made it the most popular standard for broadcasting and streaming. But what makes this file format stand out from the rest?  

Moving Picture Experts Group released the MP4 format based on QuickTime File Format (.MOV) in 2001. Storing, sharing, and viewing MP4 videos represented a significant advancement in the digital world, and as a universally compatible format, it has a range of advantages.

This guide will explore the MP4 file format, its use, and how the downloading process works. 

What is MP4 Used For?

MP4 is the nickname of the MPEG-4 video file, also known as the ISO Base Media File Format. It is the de facto digital multimedia container format. The versatility of MP4 types extends to storing videos, audio, still images, and subtitles. In short, MP4 means high adaptability, easy functioning, full accessibility, and efficient trade-off. 

While MP4 is the go-to format, it can have some drawbacks based on its usage that are worth noting. Below, we’ll cover the pros and cons of the popular file format. 

The Pros of an MP4 File Format

  • Superior Versatility: As previously noted, it is one of the most popular formats to store audio, video, subtitles, and metadata. MP4 is highly versatile and accepted by most operating systems.  
  • High Compression: What makes MP4 favored over other video file types? It has a high degree of compression, resulting in small file sizes. So, it is best for compressing HD files and streaming.
  • Multi-platform Usage: The MP4 extension shows a broad scope of usage and distribution as it works on varied platforms. It enables easier digital distribution. 
  • Metadata Support: MP4 allows you to attach interactive features, like menus, 3D graphics, and user navigation options. 

The Cons of an MP4 File Format

  • Compression: Each compression results in the loss of some file information. Although MP4 is renowned for looking almost as good as lossless file containers, for professional editing and archival users the slight loss of audio and video quality can be an issue.
  • Illegal Distribution: The ease of use of the MP4 format makes it convenient to distribute files illegally. Removing metadata is relatively simple, so it can reduce file security.

How to Download an MP4 File

MP4 has changed the digital scenario for streaming and downloading purposes. It is the preferred method to watch HD content without taking up much space. 

There are several ways to download MP4 files:

  • You can use an online portal that offers free and secure video downloads, allowing you to download videos from popular video-sharing platforms like YouTube. However, you must be careful while using these services as these files might be illegally distributed. 
  • A better and more secure method is to try a program that allows you to download digitized videos. With EverPresent, you can download your videos in a few clicks. After you’ve created an account and your media is in a digital format, the downloading process is straightforward. 

How to Search Your Files (MP4)

If you’re downloading MP4 files on your computer, you first need to know where you can find those files on your PC. You can narrow down your search by adding format information or other details. 

  • Launch the File Explorer.
  • Type “kind:video” in the search bar to find all the videos.
  • Type “ext:.file format” like “ext:.mkv” or “ext:.MP4” to look for specific files. 
  • Press “enter” and look through your videos.

How to Play MP4 Files on a PC

MP4 extension has at least one inbuilt player in all the systems. All you have to do is click on the file you want to play. Your preferred media player will run the video. Windows uses its default Windows Media Player, while macOS uses QuickTime.

If you’re curious about how to play MP4 on Windows with multiple media players, check out the following steps:

  • Right-click on the file you want to play.
  • Click on the “Open with” option.
  • Now, you can select the player you want to use.

Digitize Your Videos with Ease

The MP4 file format is the standardized container format that receives support from almost all media players. Its high compression rate enables easy streaming without impacting the quality of the file. As a result, MP4 remains a popular, web-friendly video format that you can use to store, download, and share videos that matter to you.  

If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to digitize and preserve your old videos, EverPresent makes the process simple by converting them to an MP4 format.

Contact us today to learn more about our video transfer services. Discover the EverPresent difference now!